Pirates edge Ohlone at Canyons Tournament

Photo by Steven Guersch
Photo by Steven Guersch

SANTA CLARITA -- The Orange Coast College men's basketball team wrapped up nonconference play with a thrilling 79-78 win over Ohlone College on Saturday night at the College of the Canyons Men's Basketball Tournament.

Jonathan Ileleji led the Pirates (3-10) with 23 points and four assists, while Myles Woods and Andres Ortega each added 16 points and Aundrel Pua tossed in 14 points go to along with 11 rebounds. 

For the Renegades (2-12), Aidan Graham led the way with 20 points and 11 rebounds, while Markel Wells added 19 points and 12 rebounds.

OCC led through the first half and carried a 14-point advantage (45-31) into the opening minutes of the second half before Ohlone made its move. The Renegades ripped off a 17-4 run to pull to within a point at 49-48. Then, OCC responded with a 19-9 run of its own and led, 68-57 with 8:32 remaining. 

But, over the next seven minutes, Ohlone clawed back and finally drew even with the Pirates at 71 with 1:22 left, capping off a 14-3 Renegades run.

Keo Chun quickly responded for the Pirates with a made layup, putting OCC back in front, 73-71.

From there, both teams traded blows into the final seconds of the game. A tip-in by Wells evened the score at 78, but on OCC's next possession, Woods was fouled and sent to the free-throw line, where he calmly drained the first attempt to put the Pirates up, 79-78. He missed his second attempt and Ohlone's final 3-point attempt missed its mark, giving the Coast the hard-earned victory.

OCC will kick off Orange Empire Conference play at Riverside City College on Friday afternoon, beginning at 2 p.m. OCC's next home game will be on Wednesday, Jan. 8 against Saddleback, beginning at 7 p.m.